Al-Farabi (d.950) was one of the most important philosophers of the world of early Islam. This episode briefly introduces part of his contribution to metaphysics and political philosophy.
July 28th, 2015
July 9th, 2015
This episode highlights two perspectives in early philosophy within Muslim contexts. Al-Kindi (d. 860s) viewed philosophy and religion as compatible and important whereas al-Razi (d.925) was skeptical of revelation and prophets.
June 12th, 2015
This episode discusses the interaction with Greek philosophy in the early Islamic period. We encounter Plotinus, Neoplatonism, and the important Christian translators of Greek knowledge to Arabic which opened the door to the rise of major Muslim philosophers in later times.
Islamic Philosophy: an Introduction by Oliver Leaman
The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy Edited by P. Adamson/R.C. Taylor
February 3rd, 2015
Today's episode seeks to present a general picture of the Sufi worldview. Some of the questions we briefly deal with include: How do Sufis interpret revelation? And what is the Sufi "Way" or "Path" (tariqa)?
December 19th, 2014
This episode discusses a further step in the later rise of full-fledged Sufi orientations within the world of Islam. We encounter the concepts of ma`rifa (intuitive knowledge), fana' (annihilation in God), and baqa' (subsistence), as well as the important figures of Bistami (d.875), al-Junayd (d.910), and al-Hallaj (d.922).
November 15th, 2014
This episode introduces the tradition of Sufism that some also call Islamic mysticism. We are concerned today with the early period and the practice of zuhd (asceticism).
October 7th, 2014
This episode discusses the struggles of modern Muslims to make sense of the concept of Jihad. We consider the impact of European colonialism and attempt to map a number of ways in which Muslims in the modern world have perceived Jihad up to the present.
September 26th, 2014
This episode briefly discusses the worldview of the Jihad movements that appeared on the Muslim scene around the 17th and 18th centuries AD. Can we view these movements as, in some ways, precursors to contemporary Jihad movements? The episode particularly highlights the attitude of these movements towards the religious practice of their time and also their drive to establish a "caliphate."
September 6th, 2014
What exactly is Jihad? This episode discusses the traditional doctrine of Jihad that Muslim Jurists developed and takes a brief look at related issues of conflict, peace, and pluralism in the Qur'an and some premodern Muslim legal discourses.
July 30th, 2014
What does Ijmāʿ (consensus) mean? How does it function within traditional Islamic Law? In what way do the Sunni concept of “ijmāʿ” and the Shīʿī concept of “imām” parallel each other? What are the political dynamics of ijmāʿ?